To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the death of Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971), l’Observatoire interdisciplinaire de creation et de recherche en musique (OICRM) is organizing an international conference, under the auspices of activities generated by the Équipe musique en France XIXe-XXe siècles: Discours et idéologies (ÉMF) associated with its Laboratoire musique, histoire et société (LMHS).
Igor Stravinsky’s musical trajectory was closely tied to France: the country where his career took off with the Ballets russes, the cultural space that served as a resonator spreading his fame around the world, the ground on which he established his residence intermittently, and then permanently, before his departure for California. The composer’s œuvre lies at the heart of stylistic, aesthetic and cultural developments in French music that took place during the first third of the twentieth century such as the explosion of primitivism, the violent shock of the avant-garde, and the return to order of neoclassicism. Beyond this, his presence remained palpable for the rest of the century, though in a more tangential way, with his much-noted and very personal turn to serialism, and after his death with a perceptible influence on new trends. Because of this, Stravinsky’s work and personality constitute one of the cornerstones of French music in the twentieth century, difficult to ignore when one reflects upon key figures in musical life of this period such as Debussy, Satie, Ravel, Boulanger, Milhaud, Poulenc, Monteux, Messiaen, Boulez, Boucourechliev, or those in a broader artistic sphere such as Nijinski, Chanel, Cocteau, Picasso, Gide, Massine, Valéry or Balanchine.
Notorious for the many breaks and pirouettes that marked his aesthetic allegiances and his efforts to combine the most varied trends and styles—a grounding in Russian national folklore mixed with a quest for timeless classicism, an appropriation of elements from the past brought together with clearing new lands—Stravinsky was criticized for kleptomania and inconsistency, causing as much exasperation as admiration. This is especially clear in the French cultural and media space where he never stopped cultivating different gardens, sowing confusion and drawing the attacks of musicians and critics like Koechlin, Vuillermoz, Prunières, Scholezer, Leibowitz or Schaeffner.
At a time when the rediscovery and premiere (2016) of Chant funèbre reminds us of the rejuvenating vitality of Stravinsky’s musical legacy, and to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of his death (April 2021), this conference will provide an opportunity to bring our view of the man and his work in twentieth-century France up to date. After the surge of activity that Stravinsky studies experienced in the last decades of the twentieth century (Berger, Cone, Craft, Pasler, Taruskin, Van den Toorn, Straus, Walsh, Carr and many others), our perspectives on Stravinksy have continued to be enriched, most notably with regard to his musical style and the cultural contexts within which his works are situated. Through the lens of Stravinsky’s activity and legacy in the French orbit, the conference will further expand current research directions and also open up new areas of investigation. It is to this project that the organizers of this event wish to rally Stravinsky specialists as well as researchers and musicians whose work examines the intersection of this figure with the space of the Hexagone.
Themes of the conference
The conference will take stock of recent developments in Stravinsky studies and explore the new perspectives they open up on our understanding of the composer’s legacy, including such subjects as:
- The specificity and originality of Stravinsky’s works premiered in France
- The stylistic influence of Stravinsky in France from his day to ours (primitivism, neoclassicism, jazz, serialism)
- The links of Stravinsky’s aesthetic with literature and the other arts of his day in France
- Stravinsky and the Ballets russes
- French avant-gardes and their connections to the Stravinsky legacy
- Performances of Stravinsky’s music
- Stravinsky’s exegetes in France
- The reception of Stravinsky’s works (written in France or elsewhere) in the French musical press
- The place of Stravinsky’s music in French musical training
- The commemoration of Stravinsky in the French cultural orbit
- Networks of friendship associated with Stravinsky; networks of professional support for his music in France
- Mises en scène of Stravinsky’s work on French stages and in digital sources
- The continuing relevance of Stravinsky to French musical life
To submit a proposal please fill in the form available at this address: https://forms.gle/31Hr5i4NwQCg3sK66. Abstracts and presentations can be in French or in English (the language of the presentation shall be the same as that of the abstract).
Abstracts should be between 750 and 1000 words long and be made up of three sections: 1) topic (with reference to one or more of the proposed themes); 2) research methodology; and 3) findings/results. The proposal must be accompanied by an abridged abstract (150 words), a selective bibliography and a short biography of the author (or the first two authors for collaborative projects). Papers are limited to 20 minutes.
A panel of specialists will evaluate abstracts anonymously. Abstracts should be sent no later than January 31st, 2020. Papers will give rise to a publication, either a special issue of a periodical or a peer-reviewed book project.
The OICRM is pleased to fund four travel grants designated for four students (500$ each grant) from outside Montreal who submit the best abstracts.
January 31st, 2020
François de Médicis, Professeur titulaire
Faculté de musique
Université de Montréal
Danick Trottier, Professeur agrégé
Département de musique
Université du Québec à Montréal
Yves Balmer (CNSMDP)
Jonathan Cross (Oxford)
Michel Duchesneau (UdeM)
Valérie Dufour (ULB)
Marina Frolova-Walker (Cambridge)
Steven Huebner (McGill)
Hervé Lacombe (Rennes 2)
Tamara Levitz (UCLA)
Massimiliano Locanto (Salerno)
Mark McFarland (Georgia)
François de Médicis (UdeM)
Simon Morrison (Princeton)
Dorothea Redepenning (Heidelberg)
Richard Taruskin (Berkeley)
Danick Trottier (UQAM)